Stunning Contemporary Dance at Opening Night of 21st JOMBA!
JOMBA! one of the few remaining contemporary dance festivals in South Africa, had a successful opening night at UKZN’s Elizabeth Sneddon theatre.
The festival, which is celebrating its 21st year, is hosted by the Centre for Creative Arts (CCA) in the College of Humanities.
It features performances over two weeks, offering dancers, dance-makers and interested members of the public an opportunity to engage in workshops, discussions and master classes.
Artistic Director and Performing Arts lecturer at UKZN, Dr Lliane Loots, gave the keynote address in which she dedicated JOMBA!’s 21-year journey to all South African and African artistic migrants and exiles who continue to make dangerous living art. She also lamented the fact that there is less funding for artists.
‘Our spaces for art are diminishing and even worse, so negligently administered, that audiences have become scarce. Why watch art that may provoke you into thinking and reacting, when you can sit and watch neatly packaged TV dance shows that offer two-minute dance routines of spasmic contorted bodies that neither challenge the status quo nor require you to question the physical commodification of our gendered and racially charged bodies?’ she remarked.
Loots said that she had seen Durban dance companies fold because they could no longer afford to pay dancers and how the CCA had to beg for funding. ‘I watch skilled artists and dancers prostitute themselves for an endless parade of corporate gigs because they cannot get work as serious artists,’ she said. ‘In an increasingly violent land war for dance, this festival is a beacon of communal commons, of the shared potential for artist, arts administrators, arts technicians and funding bodies, to find an “imagined community” for these two weeks.’
Celebrated Cape Town-based Jazzart opened the festival with their JOMBA! debut. Sifiso Kweyama’s Cape of Ghosts digs deep to find the core of what constitutes the ownership of land in a beautiful and politically evocative work.
JOMBA! runs until 8 September at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre on UKZN’s Howard College campus. Tickets are priced between R45 and R60 and are available at Computicket or at the venue an hour before the show. For more information and a full downloadable programme, visit www.cca.ukzn.ac.za.
Words: Melissa Mungroo
Photographs: Val Adamson